State legislative leaders and Gov. George E. Pataki favor a United Nations building expansion plan that could include a $2 billion federal loan and the loss of a lower Manhattan park.
"This bill that there is agreement on," said Manhattan Democratic Assemblyman Steven Sanders, "would allow the United Nations Development Corp. to proceed with a planning process."
Sanders, the bill sponsor who represents the Manhattan district in which the U.N. building is located, said if construction is approved next year by the Legislature after public hearings, another, larger park would have to be built under his bill.
The proposal was immediately criticized.
"To consider giving more land to the United Nations, a corrupt organization that is not a friend of the United States, is not in the best interest of New York residents," State Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long said Thursday.
The Legislature would only be allowing the U.N. to begin planning for a project that would erect a 35-story building on the site of the park. The new building would allow for temporary relocation of offices during renovation of the 52-year-old Secretariat building, then be used to consolidate U.N. offices now located throughout Manhattan.